Front Page Titles (by Subject) §20 - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
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§20 - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented 
The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented, trans. Theophilus Dorrington, ed. with an Introduction by Simone Zurbruchen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
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In true Religion there is included a Covenant.Since therefore it is confess’d among all Christians, that Religion and the Worship of God is not a Humane Invention, and that it does not depend upon the Will of Man after what manner we are to worship God; but that it has been reveal’d by God himself to Men what worship he will have them give him, and what Effects shall follow, as Men rightly perform or neglect this. From hence it may be understood, that in true Religion there is a Covenant between God and Men. See Deut. 4:2, 12, 32. Isa. 8:20. For a Covenant is the Union, Consent and Agreement of Two Wills about the same Thing. When therefore God discovers how he will be worshipp’d by Man, and Man takes it upon him to perform that Worship, then there is a Consent of the Divine Will, and the Will of Man, and Man is said to have Faith in God and Religion, which before that Consent he had not. For altho’ God by a bare Command might enjoin Man to worship him, and Man is bound to this by God’s creating him; yet it has pleas’d the Divine Wisdom and Goodness rather to appoint this in the Way of a Covenant, and with the Proposal of a Reward, so as that the Consent and Acceptation of Mankind may be added to the Proposal made by God, and from thence there may arise, as it were, a mutual Obligation, and the stricter Friendship and Union between God and Man. By which, nevertheless, there is nothing taken from the Dominion of God over Men which he has obtain’d by Creation; nor does it follow from thence that it is of Right at the Pleasure and Will of Man whether or no he will enter into this Covenant with God, or that he should not be liable to Punishment if he disdains to do it, and chuses to live without any Religion. For indeed we are under Indispensible Obligation to comply with the Covenant offered by God, insomuch that to refuse it deserves the heaviest Punishment, Mat. 10:14, 15. Mat. 22:7. Luke 14:21, 24. And there arises from that Covenant a stricter Obligation than from a naked Precept; forasmuch as a Precept may be enjoin’d upon him that is unwilling to obey it, but a Covenant is voluntarily undertaken; so that if this be not observ’d there can no Excuse be made for it. Hence it is that in Exod. 24:8. it is said of the Covenant, that God made it; and in Heb. 9:2. ’tis said of the same thing, that God enjoin’d or commanded it. The Meaning of this Method of proceeding with Men is this: It pleases God in his Infinite Wisdom not to impose upon Men his Worship or Religion with all the Force and Efficacy of his Dominion over them, which he uses in his Disposal of the Creatures destitute of Reason, Psal. 148:5, 6, 7, 8. But he has determin’d to govern Men by Motives and Inducements, that they may willingly consent to his Religion, and take it upon them or themselves. He is therefore said to have some time winked at the Times of Ignorance, Acts 17:30. For since God requires a Worship and Veneration which does include the Love and Inclination of the Heart, such an one is more fitly drawn from us by pleasing Motives, than extorted as a rigid Command. And the Punishment which is due to the Condemners of Religion does not immediately, and by a manifest Execution, take Place, as is wont to be done for the Violation of Humane Laws: But it is commonly put off to the future, and deferr’d in the greatest Part of it to the end of this present Life. Accordingly God does not deal with us in the Matter of Religion, nor in the whole Business of our Salvation, with the utmost Exercise of his Power; but as he is a free Being, he does exert his Power with a certain Temperament and Order, and within such Limits as he has been pleas’d to set to himself. So that in this Matter it is not to be enquir’d what God can do by the Force of his Omnipotence, but what he will do according to the Disposition of his Counsel. From whence it appears that all Religion were taken away, and turn’d into a naked, natural, Motion, if any should account the whole Man to be but a meer Machine, and mov’d only by the External Impulse of another Being. Tho’ he does indeed depend on God, not only in his Original, but he also has need of a continual Divine Influx to preserve his Existence, and that he may perform his Operations. For if any thing may be imputed to Man, as what he has done or omitted, and is bound to give an Account for, it must needs be that this must have been within the Reach of his Will and Choice, and that which he could of his own Motion do without being forced to it by any Necessity from without; so as that if he cannot by his own Force and Instinct move himself to any sort of Action, yet at least he can reject the Power offer’d him from without to do this; and when he has receiv’d, he may neglect this, and throw it away again. Otherwise his Actions or Omissions could no more be imputed to a Man than the Errours of a Clock can be to that which has in Truth no Liberty in any of its Motions; but they only proceed from the Determination of the Artificer that made it. Every Predestination therefore, or Predetermination, which does not leave to Man at least that Negative Liberty, or the Faculty of rejecting and resisting, makes of him a meer Engine or Machine, and utterly overthrows all Religion and Morality. For whatever Signs of Religion and Worship do proceed from such an one, they could no more be accounted true Religion or Worship, than if a Statue were so contriv’d by an Artificer as to bend it self to those that approach it; this were to be accounted an Expression of Respect. And that the Prescience of God, which cannot be denied, lays no Necessity upon the voluntary Actions of Men, which are foreseen, comes to pass thus. That in God there is no Succession of Time, but all Things are present to him, by reason of his Infinite Essence, which is without beginning or end, and are understood to be beheld by that present Intuition, and so the Providence and Direction of God does, as it were, accompany the Motion of the Creatures. But the Succession of Motions and Times belongs to the Creatures only; and the finite, created, Mind of Man being suited to finite and created Things, conceives of them as past, present, and future. Therefore the Attribute of Prescience, when ’tis given to God, must be purg’d from that Imperfection.